Before I had a looksee at my play stats of the Baku 42, I had zero expectations. What with my ever-changing moods and the bias my iPod seems to have towards particular songs when it’s on shuffle mode (I swear those things have minds of their own and will one day rise up and take control of planet Earth) there was no guarantee that the entries I rated the highest a year ago would make equally high appearances on this list. It turns out that, while some of them clawed their way up, songs that I didn’t realise I had a penchant for bumped others way down. I’ll let you decide which are which, as I present to you the 20 entries of 2012 that I’ve listened to most since May.
#1 | Love Unlimited by Sofi Marinova
If you happened to be drinking when you read this, I apologise for the liquid you just spat out all over yourself in shock and/or horror. Then again, if you’ve read me before you should know that I am probably the #1 fan of this song, worldwide. I don’t think Sofi herself loves it as much as I do (although she has had to sing it a billion times, so the boredom must have set in by now). So why have I played it more times than any other of the 2012 entries? Well, I just think it’s incredibly catchy (great to dance wildly to in the comfort of any place where there are no other humans present), I love the mixed languages in the chorus (great for singing along to in the same situation) and I find it super motivating (great for jogging to, etc). What a useful song it is.
#2 | Waterline by Jedward
#3 | Euphoria by Loreen
#4 | Zaleilah by Mandinga
#5 | Kuula by Ott Lepland
#6 | När Jag Blundar by Pernilla Karlsson
I want to compare this to Hungary ’13, being the simple, quiet and pretty but not too well-liked song that it is, that I and a few others I know LOVE. But Kedvesem has actually proved itself more popular than I expected, so you’re on your own, Pernilla. I think this song is really beautiful, well constructed and has a lovely sentiment (having been written by Pernilla’s brother for their mother and all). It gets me all misty-eyed even though I have no idea what she’s singing about because I never bothered to translate the lyrics #mybad. But they say music is the universal language, so if I can get the emotion without knowing what’s being said, that’s acceptable, right?
#7 | Love Me Back by Can Bonomo
#8 | Aphrodisiac by Eleftheria Eleftheriou
#9 | Verjamem by Eva Boto
#10 | Be My Guest by Gaitana
#11 | La La Love by Ivi Adamou
Here’s a song I didn’t think douze-worthy at first, but have gotten more and more obsessed with over the last year. It’s a good thing we’ll have this genuine Cypriot gem and the awesome stage show that accompanied it to cling on to while Despina Olympiou takes to the Malmö stage and bores us all to death (more on that in my upcoming reviews). La La Love wound up 16th in the final, which is an excellent result for Cyprus (it’s practically a win, like it would be for Austria, Switzerland, and co) although once it had qualified I was predicting it to do better. Maybe Ivi’s average vocal was to blame; though that didn’t stop Eric Saade from coming 3rd…
#12 | Quédate Conmigo by Pastora Soler
#13 | Standing Still by Roman Lob
#14 | Woki Mit Deim Popo by Trackshittaz
#15 | Nije Ljubav Stvar by Željko Joksimović
#16 | Sound Of Our Hearts by Compact Disco
#17 | We Are The Heroes by Litesound
This, even in its post-NF disco-lite version, is SO much better than the tropical trash (albeit damn catchy tropical trash) Belarus are sending this year. The unfortunate thing is that Alyona will likely be much more successful than Litesound, and then she’ll knock on their doors and point and laugh at them because they “stole” her ticket to Eurovision 2012 and she’ll have gotten her revenge. Or perhaps not. Anyway, back to We Are The Heroes: another song written expressly to motivate me when I’m on the treadmill and this close to bailing. Thanks, guys.
#18 | Nebo by Nina Badrić
#19 | Laŭtar by Pasha Parfeny
#20 | When The Music Dies by Sabina Babayeva
Rounding out my most-played list is Baku’s host entry. I have long suspected that Sabs was referring to Running Scared as the thing that made the music die. But that’s irrelevant. This isn’t my favourite entry from Azerbaijan, but it’s one I’m still liking all these months later. I didn’t think it was going to do as well as it did, but I think we’ve all learnt that the power of Azerbaijan-representing, Swedish-penned ballads cannot be underestimated.
I’ve showed you mine – show me yours? Which entries of last year have you been playing on repeat?
It’s been three weeks since Sweden won Eurovision 2012, and even though we’ve stopped using the word ‘euphoria’ to create lame puns and such, the EBU has still not released the split results, goshdarn them. There’s been a lot of individual country results trickling out on the internet, but nothing complete. Apart from annoying me (I am not a patient person) this has messed me around a bit on the blog front since I had planned a split analysis, which I should be doing now. Without anything to analyse, I’m scraping the bottom of the Baku barrel for something to write about.
Having said that, my mysterious and thrilling title (cough) does not lie – I do have a revelation to reveal. And here it is: Norway didn’t actually lose the contest this year. I don’t know if that has already occurred to you, but as president of the “Tooji is Amazeballs” fan club, the it was quick to occur to me, and I was planning on tweeting the fact to Tooji himself to make him feel better, but I figured he was probably over the whole thing by now.
Basically, we all know what happened in the final, point-wise. Namely, this:
- Sweden – 372
- Russia – 259
- Serbia – 214
- Azerbaijan – 150
- Albania – 146
- Estonia – 120
- Turkey – 112
- Germany – 110
- Italy – 101
- Spain – 97
- Moldova – 81
- Romania – 71
- Macedonia – 71
- Lithuania – 70
- Ukraine – 65
- Cyprus – 65
- Greece – 64
- Bosnia & Herzegovina – 55
- Ireland – 46
- Iceland – 46
- Malta – 41
- France – 21
- Denmark – 21
- Hungary – 19
- United Kingdom – 12
- Norway – 7
Yes, Sweden nearly beat Rybak’s record, and got the highest amount of douze points in history, blah blah blah. We all know that. But what about the semis? Unlike Norway, there were 16 countries who didn’t even make it to Saturday night, so technically they were all beaten by the Tooj. Now, for your convenience and possible interest, I have combined those 16 and ranked them by the points they accrued* in order to figure out who actually finished last – and who still has bragging rights in saying they came 30th, or whatever.
Let’s start with the 27th– 35th placed countries.
* FYI, the countries from semi 1 are in red, and those from semi 2 are in blue. Also, if there were equal scores, I have ranked them according to who received more high scores. You know, in the slightly dodgy EBU way.
- Bulgaria – 45
- Switzerland – 45
- Croatia – 42
- Finland – 41
- Portugal – 39
- Georgia – 36
- Belarus – 35
- Netherlands – 35
- Israel – 33
Bulgaria and Switzerland were the two countries that just missed out, which in way, must be more irritating for them than if they had lost.
Bulgaria not only got the same point total as Norway – failing to qualify because Love Unlimited didn’t get any lots of 8 points – but as Switzerland too. Sofi placed above Sinplus (IMO) because she got a 10 and a triple 6, whereas the Broggini brothers got a triple 8, and a 7 – but feel free to swap them around if it’ll help you sleep at night.
As you can see, there’s a block of higher-ranked songs from semi 2 here, which proves once again which semi was the strongest. Georgia’s 32nd placing is officially their worst ever, considering they’d qualified on every participation in the past. I can’t say I feel sad for them, although I do still want to strangle whoever decided to give Anri Jokhadze a rhyming dictionary for Christmas.
Belarus and the Netherlands also share a point total, but this time the division is clearer – Litesound managed to score a douze and an 8, whereas Joan was left with an 8 and a double 7. If you’d ever wondered what people prefer to look at – chainmail and leather or feathers – wonder no more.
Now we come to the countries ranked 36th– 39th:
- Slovenia – 31
- San Marino – 31
- Slovakia – 22
- Montenegro – 20
Poor Slovenia, who most of us had pegged to qualify, finished in a dismal unfortunate 36th place (I don’t want to destroy a teenage girl’s hopes and dreams any more than they’ve already been destroyed), just out-scoring San Marino with a 10 and an 8. Speaking of San Marino – well, they’re not going to be saying ‘uh-oh’ about 37th with 31 points, because it’s one of their best results EVER. That’s not as spectacular as it sounds, but it’s something Valentina Monetta will probably include in her status updates on Facebook…er, I mean, that social network, for the rest of her life.
Amazingly, Montenegro kept themselves out of the bottom three, possibly by borrowing Anri’s dictionary (choosing words with more syllables). Here are the unlucky trio who couldn’t be saved by Eurovision-themed lyrics, see-through dresses or pole dancers (apparently sex does not sell at the ESC).
- Latvia – 17
- Belgium – 16
- Austria – 8
So, when we’re talking about points, it was Austria’s popo-shaking duo Trackshittaz who came dead last this year. Congrats, boys!
I guess it’s apt that a song all about rear ends came bottom. We should have seen it coming – I mean, didn’t Loreen tell us she was going up-up-up-up-up-uuuuuppp? Then again, We Are the Winners didn’t turn out to be gospel back in Athens. I guess you never really know what’s going to happen in this competition. Isn’t that part of the fun?
NEXT TIME: If we finally get a looksee at the split results, I’ll be picking my way through them so you don’t have to. Otherwise…well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
It’s the final weekend of February, folks, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be run off our feet with songs for Baku – amazingly, March is going to be the mad month. The next few days will be breezy, with just three songs on the way. A little on that, plus the most recent results and the usual Melodifestivalen ramble are on today’s menu, so get stuck in!
Austria, Ireland and Turkey want us to shake our bottoms to the waterline if we love them back?
Apparently, yes. In an outcome that nobody could have foreseen (sarcasm alert), Jedward won the Irish national final last night with Waterline. Also last night, in an outcome that many of us would have predicted, Trackshittaz (the duo fans have been obsessed with since their crazy-amazing NF entry Oida Taunz almost made it to Düsseldorf) won the Austrian selection with Woki Mit Deim Popo. Finally, mid-week, Can Bonomo presented his song for Turkey (and Europe) Love Me Back, and I can safely say we all knew that was coming.
I’m pretty pleased with these three choices. I came to terms with Jedward representing Ireland again the millisecond I knew they were trying again; as we are all aware, they + their gravity-defying hairdos = unbeatable. Waterline is a good enough song to make me think less of the likelihood that they were picked because they are Jedward, which is a bonus; however I don’t think it’ll make the twins a certainty to qualify, as Lipstick did last May.
Austria’s song is basically three minutes of two guys telling anyone who’ll listen to shake their rear end/booty/derriere etc – and not even very politely. But for some reason it works. It’s what I would call quality novelty (a good song with a sense of humour) and I hope it goes further than others of the same mould have done in the past (i.e.InCulto’s Eastern European Funk) because I’m loving it.
Love Me Back may not be one of those songs that everybody loves (like the ones Latvia’s Anmary will be singing about in Baku, I suppose) but I sure do! Just like Can, it’s a little off-the-wall and it’s just repetitious enough – not too much. The chorus is so catchy, and the traditional Turkish elements make it nice and ethnic. Will Can sing his way into the final after Yuksek Sadakat’s shock failure to do so last year? I reckon he Can. Ha, ha.
Trouble in Belarus…
With any possible upsets in Ukraine yet to occur, it looks like the award for the Most Inconclusive National Final will be going to Belarus this year. I can’t say I’m disappointed by that, since the initial winner has been disqualified in favour of the original runner-up, who just happened to be my favourite. You do have to feel a bit sorry for Alyona Lanskaya, who was under the impression she’d be heading off to Baku in a few months (hopefully she hadn’t started packing yet) only to discover that investigations into Eurofest had found her/her posse guilty of something or other (vote rigging? Being in possession of a depressing ballad?). And so it is that the second-placers, Litesound, will step up to represent the country with a much better song (in my not-so-humble opinion) called We Are The Heroes. That is, unless they too are given the boot for some reason. What is up with Eastern European NF debauchery?
Finland, the Netherlands and Slovenia – it’s decision time!
The Finnish final is Saturday and those of the Netherlands and Slovenia are on Sunday. You know all that, right? What you don’t know (but may have guessed given my recent history) is that I have not reviewed all of the potential entries there because I like surprises.
I am allowing the Dutch to not surprise me, however. I’ve had a listen to the final six on their list – listen to the snippets here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZwAdAgdB3o – in order to give you a prediction. I have to admit I expected to be underwhelmed. There is some strange phenomena that makes the Netherlands kick butt when it comes to Junior Eurovision, but quite frankly suck at the Big ESC. The latter hasn’t always been the case, but take a look back at their last decade in the contest and you’ll see a trend.
To cut a short story even shorter, it turns out I was underwhelmed.
But I won’t moan on about that. Let’s just take a look at the contenders, who have been paired up to face off in duels (and not in a wizardy, Harry Potter way). The winner of each will proceed to the Super Final, and one of them will become the ultimate fighting champion! A.K.A the winner of the whole thing.
The show: Duel 1 is between Chocolatte by Rafaëlla Paton and You and Me by Joan Franka; Duel 2 will see Children of the World by Kim de Boer vs. Take Me As I Am by Ivan Peroti battle it out; and Duel 3 has pit We Can Overcome by Pearl Jozefzoon and Undercover Lover by Tim Douwsma against each other.
My prediction: I think it’ll be Rafaëlla vs. Ivan vs. Tim in the Super Final. I want Tim to win, but considering the deciding jury includes Afrojack, I’d say Rafaëlla’s got the edge. I won’t be devastated if she does win; I’m just not sure Europe’s ready yet for another song about confectionery.
Melodifestivalen: the last semi
It may be the last, but the epic journey to find Sweden’s hopeful is far from over – we still have Andra Chansen and the final to look forward to. This is the last lot of new songs to review for MF 2012 though, and that brings a tear to my eye (yes, I love the Swedish preselection that much). I’m going to miss counting down to 9pm (my time) when the songs are released and I can decide how much I adore/despise them!
- The Girl by Charlotte Perrelli
- Allting Blir Bra Igen by OPA
- Land of Broken Dreams by Dynazty
- Don’t Let Me Down by Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren
- Goosebumps by Hanna Lindblad
- Kyss Mig by Axel Algmark
- Why Start A Fire by Lisa Miskovsky
- Amazing by Danny Saucedo
My picks: The Girl, Goosebumps, Why Start A Fire and Amazing.
ESC veteran Charlotte said herself that The Girl was stronger than Hero, which won MF in 2008. In a way, she has sort of reinvented herself with a different sound (still schlager but not 110%) and a different look, which I must say is making her look both more feminine and less like a creature of the beyond. The song is my least favourite of my top four, but it should make for a show-stopping opener (that so does not make sense).
Goosebumps is a brilliant, well-thought out number with great variety between the verses and choruses. I’m not usually a fan of pop-rock, which is how I’d describe this, but I guess it’s an exception because I’m hoping to see it go straight to the final.
Why Start A Fire is not what I imagined it would be – thankfully it’s better. I don’t rate it’s chances of moving on but for me it deserves to.
Danny Saucedo – can you do any wrong? I love everything he does, and if I was still of the acceptable age to have posters on my bedroom wall he would be above my bed. Amazing is everything In The Club was last year, and look how close that came to victory. Many have touted this as Danny’s year, so will Amazing, with its infectious sound and super-cool dubstep dance break, deliver the goods required to make that true? My fingers are crossed.
My predictions: Being as objective as I can be, I’m guessing Hanna and Danny will get to the final, with Charlotte and Dynazty getting an andra chansen.
Thanks for sticking around for another looooooong post. As always, I shall spare you another tomorrow if you join me on Twitter/Facebook for lots of single-sentence reactions to the action of this evening. Until then, ponder this: will this be the weekend that produces the winner of Eurovision 2012? I don’t think we’ve heard The One yet, so it could happen…